Whisky & Chocolate

   

Many of us appreciate fine chocolate and by the fact that you're visiting this website, I assume you appreciate good whisky too, but are the skills and end products of the Master Distillers and Master Chocolatiers really compatible. Is it possible to combine the myriad of whisky and chocolate flavours and find some heavenly delights?

For some time now I have been experimenting to find whisky & chocolate combinations which are not only a little unusual, but also push the boundaries of taste sensation into new dimensions.

 
 

For the best experience one should savour the chocolate(s) first, then the whisky 2-3 seconds later, not together in the mouth.

enjoy!

 

 

Cioccolato Domori

     

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Dalmore, MacKenzie, 46% ABV

Nose: Dark fruit (mainly raisins & plums) and rich orange

Palate: Smooth luxury with that orange, but more like an oil of orange than acidic citrus. Also the dark fruits are in abundance along with a hint of marzipan.

 
 

"Il Blend" 70% cacao. Light honey, caramel and a hint of tobacco; The combination of dark fruit in the whisky and honey, tobacco & caramel of the chocolate just synergise on the palate to create an overall entity which is creamy, luxurious and delightful on the palate. Very good.

"Teyuna" 70% cacao. Bitter sweet, cashew nuts and a touch of honey; The combination of the Teyuna's cashew nuts merge with the dark fruits of the Dalmore Mackenzie to offer even more 'Christmas cake' feeling although the flavours in the Dalmore are significantly stronger and dominate through the finish.

"Sur del Lago" 70% cacao. Dark, rich, bitter sweet, seaside promenade; I am amazed that the slight bitterness of the Sur del Lago actually enhances the dark fruit and sweetness of the Dalmore Mackenzie to create an even more delightfully rounded and fruity palate, although the flavours of the choclate rather than the whisky dominate the finish. Excellent!

 

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Glen Mhor, distilled 1969, casks 1407-1409, bottle 907 of 2265, 45% ABV

Nose: The nose takes some time to develop on this one. Starting quite light and fragrant before eventually opening to include fresh herbs, butterscotch, hints of light leather and very fragrant wood.

Palate: Initially smooth but opening into a crescendo of light fireworks across the tongue in a gentle kind of way. Offering a cocktail of bramble, dark berries, light toffee and very soft marzipan.

 
 

"Il Blend" 70% cacao. Light honey, caramel and a hint of tobacco; the combination of honey with the floral characteristics of the Glen Mhor enhance the palate and take it to another dimension, followed by the very slight tobacco flavour in the chocolate combining wonderfully with the aged oak of the whisky to prolong the finish making it even more intense. Excellent!

"Teyuna" 70% cacao. Bitter sweet, cashew nuts and a touch of honey; Amazingly, the slightly bitter flavours from the aged wood are totally lost on the palate which is now dominated by a honey-induced creaminess with a luxurious mouth-feel. The light cashew nuts finally merge with the aged wood to enhance the finish. Very good!

"Sur del Lago" 70% cacao. Dark, rich, bitter sweet, seaside promenade; That dark, bitter sea-front combines particularly well with the aged wood to give a very rounded and 'complete' palate, allowing the more aromatic and floral elements of the whisky to dominate the finish. Excellent!

 

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Arran, Icons of Arran #2; The Rowan Tree, 46% ABV

Nose: Amazing and very different to the Peacock. This is much more assertive and rich with dark chocolate, raisins and just a touch of your typical working farmyard.

Palate: No sign of the farmyard, but the dark chocolate is prominent over the raisins and it's a smooth & creamy delight.

 
 

"Il Blend" 70% cacao. Light honey, caramel and a hint of tobacco; Although the honey of Il Blend does indeed blend well with the creamy elements of the Arran, the whisky tends to neutralise most of the flavours of the chocolate.

"Teyuna" 70% cacao. Bitter sweet, cashew nuts and a touch of honey; My first thought here is that the whisky has been given a very slightly nutty bitterness from the chocolate, but this isn't a bad thing, in fact it's a dimension to the palate which I think is an improvement. The finish is then long with elements of both whisky and chocolate once again combining well. Very Good!

"Sur del Lago" 70% cacao. Dark, rich, bitter sweet, seaside promenade; The sligthly bitter sea-front flavours of the chocolate make a very good partner to the creamy, sherry-influence of the whisky to rough it up a little and actually paint a more complete overall picture, as if a missing jigsaw piece was magically added. Very good!

 

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G&M Longmorn, 12y, 40%

Nose: malt with very slight aniseed followed by aromatic currants and raisins.

Palate: Rich creamy toffee gradually opening with slightly toasted marzipan and currants with hints of marshmallow.

 
 

Teyuna Combination: Elegant, bitter-sweet, cashew nuts and a touch of honey make a perfect partner for this Longmorn.

 

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MacPhail Collection, Tamdhu, 8y, 40%

Nose: Freshly caught shellfish on an Atlantic beach, then served with ripe green apples.

Palate: Much bigger and more solid than the nose suggests. Liquorice and light ginger toffee.

 
 

Sur del Lago Combination: Something quite magical just happened; A soft, rounded experience with the best traits of each component, but suddenly appearing as one. I think the 'magical' element here was the very slight coffee flavour of the Sur del Lago.

 

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Springbank 15y, 46%

Nose: Initially wood, but this soon turned quite fruity with pears, nuts, hints of rubber, Rosemary and an autumnal lawn.

Palate: Immediate vanilla ice cream quickly sparkling across the palate with raisins, marzipan, a little bread dough and just a hint of toasted orange.

 
 

Il Blend Combination: Hints of honey, caramel and tobacco combined with the richness of the Springbank 15 to create a very good combination.

 

Chocolatier Hachez

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Hazelburn, 12y, (2009 Edition), 46% ABV

Nose: Old oak, currants, dates & figs

Palate: Wonderfully smooth and building gradually to encompass the palate with those dark fruits, wood, a little molasses (but not overly sweet) and a faint hint of orange.

 
 

Hachez Cocoa D'Arriba 'Orange' Combination: The orange and rich chocolate flavours truly enhance the overall experience with the Hazelburn. Excellent!

 

Chocolatier Sarotti

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Glenfarclas, Vintage 1989, distilled 4th Oct. 1989, bottled 26 Aug. 2002, 43% ABV

Nose: Slightly floral raisins, currants and prunes in an old oak vat with hints of very slightly smoky leather.

Palate: Very smooth, prunes and currants swimming in a cocktail of sherry and port, with a cognac in a marzipan boat floating alongside.

 
 

Sarotti No.1, 72% cacao with orange Combination: The chocolate is wonderful, as is the Glenfarclas, but unfortunately the strength of flavours in this whisky just overpower the chocolate and condemn it to insignificance.

Sarotti No.1, 75% cacao Combination: The 75% version of this chocolate, with tiny pieces of cacao is a far better partner for this Glenfarclas as both have similarly powerful flavours. They harmonise on the palate and the chocolate seems to not only lengthen, but add an extra dimension to the finish. A good pairing.

 

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Arran, Icons of Arran #2; The Rowan Tree, 46% ABV

Nose: Amazing and very different to the Peacock. This is much more assertive and rich with dark chocolate, raisins and just a touch of your typical working farmyard.

Palate: No sign of the farmyard, but the dark chocolate is prominent over the raisins and it's a smooth & creamy delight.

 
 

Sarotti No.1, 72% cacao with orange Combination: The bitterness of the chocolate along with that orange tang do add something to the whisky, but primarily in the finish which gains from the orange.

Sarotti No.1, 75% cacao Combination: The 75% version once again adds an extra depth to the whisky and is better suited, but although a good combination, it isn't earth-shattering.

 

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An Cnoc, 1994, 46% ABV

Nose: Very aromatic, floral hay, grasses and honey

Palate: Very smooth honey with grass and hay are transported directly from the nose to the palate.

 
 

Sarotti No.1, 72% cacao with orange Combination: As the previous two attempts to pair this chocolate with whisky weren't so successful tonight, I decided to try a much lighter and more fragrant whisky and what a difference it makes. The light floral hay and grassy notes of the An Cnoc, along with the honey are nicely enhanced with the bitterness and hints of orange in the chocolate to give an extra depth of flavour to the palate and another dimension to the finish. A much better combination.

 

Pairing with Pralines

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Bain's, South African, single grain whisky, 43% ABV

Nose: Very aromatic with almost floral wood, spicy butterscotch and light toffee.

Palate: Toffee and marshmallow, followed by what I can only describe as butterscoth flavoured freshly sawn and slightly perfumed oak.

 

 

Mango & Ginger praline by Franz Combination: The slightly sweet toffee, marshmallow & butterscotch of the whisky are catapulted into another dimension with the intense mango and light ginger of the praline. Incredible, I want more of this!

 

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Bunnahabhain, 'Darach Ur', 46.3% ABV

Nose: Very aromatic, violets and various other wild Alpine flowers in a sunny meadow. Also hints of freshly sawn wood.

Palate: Initially very smooth and creamy with lots of aromatic flora. Complex.

 
 

Fleur de Sel praline by Franz Combination: The salt combines with this smooth and floral, gentle Islay whisky to introduce some very welcome maritime elements. Very good! Even the creaminess is enhanced.

 

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Milton Duff, 12y, 43%, late 1980's bottling with green label and tube

Nose: Malt and fresh herbs, with an emphasis on the freshness.

Palate: Delightfully soft and smooth with some very gentle hints of creamy toffee. Thankfully, the finish is really quite long and persistent; in fact I would be happy for it to stay around all day long!

 
 

Lavendar praline by Franz Combination: The herbs, toffee & lavendar merge into perfection on the palate as the finish is lengthened even more. Sublime!

 

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Glen Garioch, 8y, 43%, old 1980's bottling with cream label & brown tube

Nose: Hay, grass and perfumed malt

Palate: Smooth and warming with slightly perfumed, flowery toffee which is very short on the first sip, but stays much longer on the second.

 
 

Honey & Thyme praline by Franz Combination: The honey worked wonders with the smooth toffee flavours on the palate, whilst the thyme enhanced the aftertaste. Excellent.

 

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G&M Lochside, old 'White Map' label,  distilled 1981, bottled 1996, 40%

Nose: Butterscotch, barley and marzipan (almond) with the slightest hint of aniseed.

Palate: Smooth and warming on the tongue with a delightful butterscotch flavour slowly giving way to the almonds.

 
 

Balsamico & Caramel praline by Franz Combination: Butterscotch, barley & marzipan soothed and caressed by luxurious caramel with a hint of balsamico delighting the palate's aftertaste. Excellent.

 

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Port Ellen, 'Second Annual Release' bottle No. 1141, 59.35%

Nose: Linseed, Scottish sea air, grass and straw

Palate: Very smooth and surprisingly sweet with a herbal aftertaste.

 
 

Fleur de Sel praline by Franz Combination: The slight saltiness merges with herbs, straw and sea-air from this Port Ellen to create an even more intense maritime experience. Sublime!

 

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Kilkerran, 'Work in Progress' 5y, bottled 2009, 46% ABV

Nose: Good solid hiking boots on an Atlantic jetty. Pardon? A maritime malt with salt, sea air, beach, Scottish jetty and rugged, quality leather. All overlaid with hints of slightly bitter, exotic fruit.

Palate: Smooth and rounded fruit cocktail comprising mainly apple, star-fruit. melon, mango and perhaps a little vanilla ice cream.

 
 

Fleur de Sel praline by Franz Combination: The maritime style of the Kilkerran combined with the Fleur de Sel was again a brilliant combination.

 

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Glenallachie, sherry cask, distilled 1989, bottled 2008, 18y, 57.1%

Nose: Toasted raisins on an open camp fire.

Palate: Rich raisins coated in marzipan which linger forever.

 
 

Ginger praline by Franz Combination: The ginger added an extra, slightly spicy dimension to this extremely good, sherried Glenallachie. Wonderful!

 

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Glen Elgin, 12y, 43% ABV

Nose: Initial mossy notes, then slightly more floral, almost perfumed but with a background hint of swimming pool.

Palate: Creamy, fresh hay with slight ginger.

 
 

Ginger Praline by Franz Combination: Another excellent combination where this very versatile ginger praline enhanced the great flavours of the Glen Elgin, making for a richer, more intense experience.

 

Truffles too

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Premier Malts, Clynelish, 32y, distilled 1971, cask 2704, 54.2%

Nose: Very floral with hints of liquoroce and malt

Palate: Deliciously smooth with an immediate nutty fruity tingle. This is extremely intense and the rich flavours of nut and fruit (apricot / peach) last almost forever on the front middle of the palate.

 
 

Olive Oil truffle by Franz Combination: The olive oil flavour enhances the rich flavours of the Clynelish with absolute finesse.

 

     

A Masterclass by

Alois Immoos with Glenfiddich

   

Glenfiddich 21y

Nose:
Heather, vanilla and melon-flavour ice cream

Palate: No heather, but the vanilla and slightly bitter melon-flavour ice cream are there.

 
 

Chocolate: The Glenfiddich 21y was matched by Alois firstly with a truffle and then with some very pure, bitter chocolate.

With the truffle the combination was quite bitter. With the pure chocolate the chocolate was too overpowering.
Sorry, but much better without the chocolate in this case.

 
   

Glenfiddich 15y Solera Reserve

Nose:
Fresh oak, herbs and kiwi fruit

Palate: New oak and quite a dry impression

With water: The kiwi fruit joins the oak on the palate.

 
 

Chocolate: Dark, quite bitter Marrakaibo 65% cacao. Excellent combination, in fact one of the best Glenfiddich & chocolate combinations of the day.

 
   

Glenfiddich 18y

Nose:
Slightly smoky, leather and pears

Palate: Watery (thin) and quite short finish. Pears and malt.

 
 

With 68% cacao chocolate: Alone, the chocolate was quite bitter, but together they harmonised into a fruity and very pleasant surprise.
With 48% cacao chcocolate: OK, but not as good as 68%.

 
   

Glenfiddich 30y

Nose:
Dark chocolate, ginger and raisins

Palate: Very smooth and gentle, but quite short. Very nice soft raisins.

 
 

Chocolate: The suggested chocolate was again quite bitter and far too strong for the Glenfiddich. However, I went back to a truffle originally offered with the 21y and this combination of Glenfiddich 30y with a truffle was a good combination.

 

 

 

 

Classic combinations

The Malt maniacs celebrate their 15y Anniversary with some Classic Malt & Chocolate combinations

 

 

As part of our 15y Anniversary celebrations in Scotland, The Malt Maniacs enjoyed a pairing of The Classic Malts with some rather classic chocolate pairings.

Talisker with a Raspberry & Black Pepper Truffle; A wonderful combination where the pepperiness of the Talisker obviously matched the black pepper in the truffle, but the raspberry introduced an extra depth of both flavour and enjoyment. ****

Cragganmore with a Nigerian Ginger Truffle; Another excellent combination with great herbal, grassy and ginger synergy. ****

Lagavulin with a Cinnamon & Clove Praline; Truly great as the rich spiced flavours of cinnamon & cloves combine with intense peat and fruit. ***

Glenkinchie with a Lemongrass Truffle; The Glenkinchie already exhibits some light citrus flavours which, combined with the lemongrass truflle offered an overall smoother and delightful but slightly less intense experience. ***

Oban with an Assam Tea & Green Cardomon Truffle; Creamy and lightly peppery the Oban merges with the Assam tea & Cardomon but somehow the synergy isn't quite what I hoped for. **

Dalwhinnie with a Cocoa dusted Velvet Truffle; The Dalwhinnie is a very good whisky and the truffle is wonderful, but the combination doesn't work for me as the rich flavours of the truffle just seem to overpower the whisky. *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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